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Coins for Dog Lovers – Gibraltar Was First

June 4, 2018 0 Comments

There is no obvious correlation, but with so many people liking to collect coins, and so many people liking dogs, there are sure to be plenty of dog-loving coin collectors in the world. Even if as a coin collector you don’t have a particular interest in dogs, collecting themed coins is always interesting, and when those coins also come from an interesting historic mint, they have extra interest to everyone.

The rocky peninsula that juts from Spain into the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea has always had strategic importance. Britain has proudly and defiantly held that rock since 1713, when it won it from Spain in the Treaty of Utrecht. It was settled by English families, who developed a distinct, but still British life-style. Today it is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, and it retains the right to mint its own currency – the Gibraltar Pound. This is pegged to the British Pound in value, but they have no legal tender value outside the peninsula, and they are minted by the Gibraltar National Mint. Although Gibraltar could issue its own legal tender since 1927, it only began minting coins in 1988. It shows how tense the situation is between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar still is, that a £5 coin minted in 2010 with the words ‘Queen of Gibraltar’ on it, outraged the Spanish, and was subsequently reduced to simply ‘Gibraltar’.

In 1991 Gibraltar became the first mint to feature dogs on its coins, with the appropriate choice of a corgi – the breed favoured by the British Queen. The coin was created in copper-nickel, silver and gold. For collecting, the silver coins are an attractive choice, containing 1 ounce of silver. The reverse has a picture of the breed of dog for the year, with the inscription ‘Ag. 1 oz, ROYAL’ and ‘.999’. The obverse shows a profile head of the Queen, with the words, ELIZABETH II, GIBRALTAR, and the year of issue.

After the 1991 Corgi came the 1992 Cocker Spaniel. The dog for 1993 was a Dachshund, followed by a Pekinese for 1994, a Collie for 1995, a British Bulldog for 1996 and a Yorkshire Terrier for 1997. The series ended in that year. The style of the pictures varies, but most show a front-facing close-up image of the breed.

Other countries followed with dog coins, including Canada and Australia, but the honour for first – always a valuable collector’s feature – is with Gibraltar. Interestingly, 2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog, running from February 16, 2018 to February 4, 2019. The dog is one of the 12 animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac. It is common for countries to issue coins to mark each year, so there will be plenty of dog coins around from various countries to mark that year, and this seems to be a particularly appropriate time for dog-lovers, and coin lovers, and anyone who is both, to start building a collection of dog coins – beginning with the very first, the Gibraltar Silver Dog series.

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